Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

social media icons

Icons of WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Swarm, Facebook Messenger, and Gmail email service applications are seen on a screen of smart phone as the Facebook logo is seen on the background on a laptop screen in Ankara, Turkey on September 04, 2018. (Photo: Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Demanding Users Fight for Data and Privacy Protections, Wikipedia Co-Founder Calls for #SocialMediaStrike

Actions slated for July 4 and 5 would highlight call for user-controlled data and a more decentralized system

Andrea Germanos

A Wikipedia co-founder called for a social media strike on July 4 and 5 to "demand that giant, manipulative corporations give us back control over our data, privacy, and user experience."

Larry Sanger outlined the proposal a post on his personal web site last week.

A large number of people taking part in the strike, Sanger wrote, would send a message of strong support for individually-owned data—which users can choose to keep private or public—and for social media services using a "use a common, universal set of standards and protocols."

Sanger also encouraged people to sign on to his "Declaration of Digital Independence."

That manifesto says, in part,

We declare that we have unalienable digital rights, rights that define how information that we individually own may or may not be treated by others, and that among these rights are free speech, privacy, and security. Since the proprietary, centralized architecture of the Internet at present has induced most of us to abandon these rights, however reluctantly or cynically, we ought to demand a new system that respects them properly. The difficulty and divisiveness of wholesale reform means that this task is not to be undertaken lightly. For years we have approved of and even celebrated enterprise as it has profited from our communication and labor without compensation to us. But it has become abundantly clear more recently that a callous, secretive, controlling, and exploitative animus guides the centralized networks of the internet and the corporations behind them.

The declaration also accuses big tech companies of requiring "agreement to terms of service that are impossible for ordinary users to understand, and which are objectionably vague in ways that permit them to legally defend their exploitative practices."

Corporations have "marketed private data to advertisers in ways that no one would specifically assent to," wrote Sanger, and have "data-mined user content and behavior in sophisticated and disturbing ways."

"The vast power wielded by social networks of the early 21st century, putting our digital rights in serious jeopardy," Sanger wrote, "demonstrates that we must engineer new—but old-fashioned—decentralized networks that make such clearly dangerous concentrations of power impossible."

Sanger left Wikipedia in 2002, and has gone on to criticize the site of being a "broken system" that "never solved the problem of how to organize itself in a way that didn't lead to mob rule."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Tlaib Leads Call for Biden to Take 'Commonsense Steps' to Aid Afghan Evacuees

"Our country has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe. Now is the time to continue that tradition and stand beside Afghan evacuees in need."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Huge Win': Green Groups Applaud Biden Move to Protect Minnesota Watershed

"You don't allow America's most toxic industry next to America's most popular wilderness," said one environmental campaigner.

Brett Wilkins ·


Taking Aim at Predatory Equity Firms, Warren Leads Bill to 'Stop Wall Street Looting'

"Now is the time," asserted Sen. Bernie Sanders, "to end Wall Street's greed, protect workers, and create an economy that works for everyone, not just the 1%."

Brett Wilkins ·


Arizona Groups Demand Sinema 'Stop Obstructing' on Medicare Expansion

The diverse coalition called on the Democratic senator to back "bold drug pricing reform" and "critical improvements to Medicare's coverage" in the reconciliation package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Should Be a No-Brainer': Biden Pushed to Back Long-Term Child Tax Credit Extension

"Putting money in the pockets of those who need it most is good for the children and families receiving it, good for local businesses, and helps protect this fragile economic recovery."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo